You’re the Worst – Season 2
I have heard this show described as being about millennial dating. I’ll take their word for it because while I’m a millennial, I’ve never dated. Oh, but you didn’t come here to read about my ennui and if you did then you’re wasting your time, time that could be better spent on the ennui of these characters, these characters being Jimmy, a struggling writer (he’s struggling to write his second book, not make money, which he has loads of because TV) and Gretchen, a publicist for a rap trio who’s depression becomes the focus of much of the season (she’s depressed, not the rap trio. The rap trio is…words fail me but I’m trying to get you to watch this so #HappyLittleAccident). There’s also Gretchen’s friend Lindsay who falls into the ‘makes hot messes feel good about themselves’ category and Jimmy’s friend Edgar who didn’t know it was a school (which you will laugh at, then feel bad about laughing at, then laugh at again) and several other quirky side characters almost all of whom are…well the worst, but who you’ll like because the writing and acting is amongst the best.
Broad City – Season 2
I feel that I have a very skim-able writing style, which is a nice way of saying most of it is filler (see this paragraph so far, including everything in the brackets) so I’ll try and justify this show in one line for you skimmers before I blather on trying to reach some grander point. This show, about two twenty something best friends, Abbi and Ilana, managed to make ‘oh no, I’ve done it again’ one of the funniest lines of the year/ever. I could go on about the rock solid chemistry between the two leads, or the hilarious supporting work of Hannibal Buress or the interesting visuals or how the show forgoes the lazy, boring ‘let’s introduce an interpersonal conflict between these two best friends every week’ (in fact I just did) but haven’t you already been enticed by discovering the context of the before mentionedd line? No? Oh well, your loss.
BoJack Horseman – Season 2
The common consensus on the first season of this show was that it started out not great and got better towards the end. The common consensus on the second season is that it’s one of the best shows on television, which is interesting because it’s on Netflix (that’s not actually interesting, I’m just really bad at segues). BoJack Horseman is one of the most human shows around, which is interesting because it’s about a horse (help I’m stuck in bad writing). What might look like a goofy show about talking animals made for stoners, is actually a goofy show about talking animals (wait for it) that offers a sobering look at depression, relationships, aging, art, family conflict, factory farming and a handful of other things, all while managing to be one of the most joke packed series out there. It can be a tough watch but it’s a worthwhile one and if you watch it be sure to play close attention to the background. Also one of the characters is named Vincent Adultman, which both is and isn’t the best thing about him.
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Season 1
This year I finally got over my male insecurity and read Tina Fey’s Bossypants. If you haven’t read it yet, do so then, or before or in between or whenever, watch The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a comedy about the survivor of a doomsday cult. Wait wait wait come back. All the members survive, so it’s not that dark. And while you might see Unbreakable in the title and think it’s going to be some heavy handed uplifting melodramatic quasi- after school special then you couldn’t be more wrong. Actually the show is pretty uplifting so I guess you could technically be more wrong, but still you were wrong about most of it. A strong cast working with an equally strong script, this show is one of the reasons why BoJack Horseman is only one of the most joke packed shows around. Another strong Netflix original I’m not sure any other show made me laugh out loud this much apart from…
Brooklyn Nine Nine – Season 3
Speaking of Netflix and making me laugh out loud (look at me, leaning forward on my segue and sending it right into a wall) Brooklyn Nine-Nine might have the best cast on TV and definitely one of the best casts of the past decade. How good? Well Terry Crews is in it and he’s merely a first amongst equals who are all also first. Imagine that, Terry Crews, being merely the first amongst equals who are all also first. One of the only good things about the Expendables franchise. A man who got into school on an art scholarship, played professional football and is now on Brooklyn Nine Nine, which quite possibly has the best cast on TV. A man who can do that peck pop thing, but in a non-obnoxious way…sorry I blanked out there. Did I start trying to sell you on Terry Crews? Crap I always do this. Point is if everyone on a shows cast is as likeable as Terry Crews then that show is worth your time. Especially when that show also has Andre Braugher who elevates deadpan to an Olympic event (and not one of these new Olympic events that anyone could do with enough training, I’m talking ancient Greece Olympics. I’m not sure if the events there were actually harder, I just compulsively shoe horn in jokes), and Chelsea Peretti playing a character accurately described as being pure Id, and Joe lo Truglio who illicit laughs with nearly every line, and…
Rick and Morty – Season 2
Yet another show that on the surface looks like a goofy show for stoners but then turns out to be a goofy show that offers a sobering look (I just made that up. This joke stolen from The Critic, also worth your time, but not on this list because it ended 20 years ago) at very human themes. A show about Rick, a genius scientist and Morty, his typical 14 year old grandson (and sometimes his 17 year old granddaughter Summer) who go on high concept adventures, usually juxtaposed against Morty’s parents more domestic problems (which are themselves usually juxtaposed against more high concept science fiction). This is another hold on to your butts (how middle of the road was Jurrasic World?) show that goes to some pretty dark places, but I think you’ll like it, anonymous internet stranger.
Archer – Season 6
I’ll admit this season isn’t the best season Archer has ever done, and it’s not the most memorable, but it’s still Archer so it’s better and more memorable than anything you’ve ever done…sorry I don’t know what happened there I saw red for a second. It’s the same solid cast and scripts laden with running jokes and obscure references, no show should be this good in its sixth season.
South Park – Season 19
And no show should be this good, much less this fresh, in it’s 19th. Telling a story about gentrification, political correctness and sponsored content this season of South Park was a compelling Sci-Fi conspiracy thriller (without sacrificing the scatological humour and satire it’s known for) and a reminder of what a shame it is that there aren’t more serial comedies out there.
Wet Hot American Summer – First Day of Camp – Season 1
Speaking of Netflix (what is wrong with me) yet another solid Netflix original, a prequel to the 2001 movie Wet Hot American Summer, staring the original cast in their original roles, which if you do the math creates the first joke (except for Paul Rudd, who seemingly ages backward, which 23 I found intimidating despite only being 23). Admittedly this is the show on the list I laughed the least at, but I don’t feel that makes it the least funny. This show, like the movie, relies less on individual jokes (though there are lots of those) and more on exaggerated reality (with multiple deals into the outright sureal), from months worth of events happening in a single day, to scenes that would work in a more straight faced coming of age comedy but for one absurdist element.
Master of None – Season 1
Speaking of Netflix (does anyone smell burning segue?) Aziz Ansari’s show about quasi Aziz Ansari (played by actual Aziz Ansari) is a funny show that is more grounded in reality than any show on this list apart from You’re the Worst, though not afraid to sometimes to step across into the slightly surreal, much like You’re the Worst (did I forget that You’re the Worst sometimes crosses the line into the slightly surreal? Because it does) usually in the service of reflecting on real life (as good comedy that crosses the line into the surreal does) whether it’s sexism, the immigrant experience or a third topic, it manages to be a funny show that with one or two exceptions doesn’t get too heavy handed.